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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Sunday 5 February 2023

Vapnartak 2023

After my Yorkshire castle tour, and drove down the road to York today for the first big show of the year, Vapnartak. The grandstand at the racecourse is a surprisingly good venue for a show. Plenty of space and natural lighting, with cash machines and decent catering on site. A far cry from the early shows in the historic if cramped Merchant Traders Hall in the city. Not to mention challenging for anyone over 5'-6" tall.

I popped into the National Railway Museum first; the absolute must-see attraction in York. The museum is being reorganised, so one exhibition hall is closed. However, there was still the magnificent Mallard on show.

I thought arriving after the 10am crowds would be wise, having spent a long time queuing last year. However, the queue was still ridiculously long at nearly 11am. In fairness, it eventually moved pretty quickly, but I saw a few locals call it a day when they viewed the length of it. A bit more thought is needed on ticketing.

There were 50 trade stands: all the big names and a lot of the smaller ones. I filled up my rucksack with plenty of goodies. A naval gun bunker for my WW2 harbour project, along with more boats, German sentries and other bits and pieces. I'm adding the air dimension to my Turkey WW2 campaigns and have gone for Blood Red Skies. I would have preferred Wings of Glory, but it's just not available. An Fw 190 squadron and Turkish decals will test my eyesight at this scale. The new Lady Macbeth figure from Annie at Bad Squiddo Games was an essential purchase. And I picked up some Napoleonic Cossacks very reasonably and the bring and buy.

Vapnartak is really a big trade show. Around 15 games are squeezed in. Most I had seen before, but some of the better ones are worth a revisit. Like these:

Setting the East Ablaze


Korean War

The Lardies new game 'What a Cowboy' had its first outing. The mechanisms looked similar to 'What a Tanker' so should be fun.

Lion Rampant is always a good option for a participation game, and this frozen option looked good.

They had to compete with this visually stunning Viking harbour setting.

And finally, this Zeppelin will test the resolve of a couple of our members who have massive Wings of Glory collections.

Other than the queues, I really like this show. It is primarily a buying trip, picking up those bits and pieces you probably wouldn't spot online. Well worth the effort.


  1. The shows sounds good, with some lovely looking games. It’s a shame about the queues (I understand others also said it was an issue that needed addressing). Hopefully they’ll have learned their lessons ready for 2024. I trust Hammerhead, now less than 4 weeks away, will be a good opportunity to pick up stuff from traders and checkout various games.
    Ps/ I trust you’ll have chance to take in a few castles on the way back North 😉

  2. I'd like to get to Hammerhead but that little bit further and a pass might be difficult as I'm going to Salute.

  3. Nice report and photos. Thanks 👍